Between black tie dress codes and tiered cakes, most weddings tend to be fancy. After all, they do represent the biggest days of most people’s lives. Compared to royal ceremonies, however, your typical bride and groom look like they’re just hanging out in their sweatpants!
Royal families from all over the world commemorate marriages with a level of luxury that you’ve only ever seen in fairy tales. These celebrations are so over-the-top that you shouldn’t be surprised if a bridal bouquet pops out of your screen as you’re reading!
1. Brunei: In 2012, Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, daughter of the multi-billionaire Sultan of Brunei, tied the knot in the most lavish fashion imaginable. The lucky man was Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini, who worked for the Prime Minister.
The week-long celebration took place in the Istana Nurul Iman Palace. The traditional home of Brunei’s royal family, it boasts an incredible 1,700 rooms. Each glimmers and shines more than the last.
The attention of countless Asian dignitaries was on the Princess that day, but she performed admirably. After the final ritual wrapped up, she, her husband, and her family drove off in a gilded Rolls Royce!
2. United Kingdom: Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, married longtime-girlfriend Kate Middleton in 2011. The event, held at Westminster Abbey, made for one of the most highly anticipated weddings in modern history. It did not disappoint.
With the ceremony declared a royal holiday, thousands of Britons and royal fans flooded the streets. Tens of millions of people across the world watched the proceedings on television and online streams.
Though born a commoner, Kate ascended to the role of Duchess of Cambridge. The British Royal Family has shifted to a more symbolic role, this union could very well make history. William and Kate are likely poised to become King and Queen of the United Kingdom.
3. Bhutan: Small as it is, the Kingdom of Bhutan loves its monarch, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck — nicknamed “The Dragon King.” That’s why his 2011 wedding to Jetsun Pema became the largest media event in the country’s history.
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The Buddhist celebration featured vibrant decorations rarely seen in the Western world. Huge crowds, filled out by both commoners and elites, met the royal couple and enjoyed demonstrations of archery and dance.
Royal astronomers even scheduled the wedding at a precise time, as to bring the best possible fortune upon the Wangchuck house. At the ceremony’s climax, Jetsun received a crown that confirmed her as the new Queen of Bhutan.
4. Indonesia: Though Princess Hayu and Prince Notonegoro were childhood friends, their romance didn’t begin until they reached adulthood. Their 2013 wedding captivated all of Indonesia, as Hayu’s father is a prominent Sultan.
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The procession featured twelve horse-drawn carriages, which paraded through the crowded streets of Yogyakarta. They carried the entire Royal Family, who waved at the thousands of cheering onlookers as they passed.
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The elaborate Muslim ceremony lasted over the course of three entire days. It included a traditional bathing ritual, which required both spouses to physically and spiritually cleanse themselves before their union.
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5. Lesotho: King Letsie III took power of the landlocked African nation in 1990, though it wasn’t until 2000 when he became a married man. The lucky lady was a commoner named Anna Motšoeneng, who met him while in university.
An enormous crowd that included Nelson Mandela turned out to observe the proceedings. Upon her ascension to the throne, Anna took the new name “Masenate Mohato Seeiso.”
6. Denmark: Even though Mary Donaldson was born and raised in Australia, she’s now the Crown Princess of Denmark. She has a chance meeting in a Sydney bar with Prince Frederik to thank for that!
Royals from all over Europe came to Copenhagen Cathedral to witness their union in 2004. Notably, Mary wore a veil that had decorated royal brides across Scandinavia for generations.
With a reception ripped right out of a fairytale, the wedding moved to the regal Fredensborg Palace. There, Frederik and Mary waltzed across the elegant ballroom tiles for their first dance.
7. Luxembourg: For Prince Guillaume, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, marriage made for a highly stressful prospect. He was the family’s last living heir, so the line would die out unless he found a suitable wife and had children.
Fortunately, he fell in love with his distant cousin, Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy. They later wed in 2012, in an event where Stéphanie’s bridal veil was almost as large as Luxembourg itself!
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They’d actually gotten married in a civil ceremony the day before. But being royals, they couldn’t get away without a touch of pageantry — including a full military escort and ring bearers dressed like Renaissance nobles.
8. India: As the son of Maharaja Gaj Singh, Prince Shivraj Singh of Jodhpur expected a rather luxurious wedding. But his marriage to Princess Gayatri Kumari Pal in 2010 blew away all expectations.
A towering, decorated elephant led to the royal procession to the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. A number of Bollywood celebrities made the trip out to celebrate with the prominent family.
Shivraj and Gayatri dressed in traditional Indian garb for the occasion. You might notice that in India, the common bridal dress color is red, instead of the white that’s popular in most of the world.
9. Spain: Although Prince Felipe de Bourbon gained a reputation as a bachelor in his earlier years, he settled down with Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. Their state wedding in 2004 broke records as the most watched televised program in Spanish history.
A fleet of Rolls-Royces ferried the lovebirds to the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha. Guests and onlookers recognized that the affair was made extra special by virtue of it being Madrid’s first royal wedding in nearly a century.
Their union also set the stage for a huge historical moment. When King Juan Carlos I abdicated the throne in 2014, Felipe and Letizia became the monarchs of Spain. Now that is a power couple!
10. Morocco: King Mohammed VI’s marriage to Princess Lalla Salma was traditional in many ways, but with one huge exception. They broke the old-fashioned precedent of royal wives making public appearances and receiving titles.
Days of customary rituals and feasting commemorated the big day, though sadly love wouldn’t be in the air forever. In 2018, Mohammed and Salma announced that they had chosen to divorce.